Just in time for the “Oscars”

February 26, 1997
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—”Moviegoing has become a social habit,” say two University of Michigan professors in the introduction to their book, “The Movies: Texts, Receptions, Exposures,” published by the U-M Press. The editing duo attribute this “habit” to “a heritage of masterpieces [that] has entertained and astonished spectators over such a long period of time.” And Profs. Laurence Goldstein and Ira Konigsberg contend that movies will continue to appeal to all levels of society.

“The most successful films, these authors imply,” say the editors, “are those that make the most sophisticated use of psychology and sociology to frame their narratives.”

While films have entertained audiences for more than 100 years, they have also intrigued scholars who question what qualities give a film the complexity and resonance of high art, what effects films produce in spectators and in society and how the appreciation of a film may be dependent on such different elements as the screen, the stars, the Zeitgeist, and even the petty business deals in Hollywood studios.

Editors Goldstein and Konigsberg have sought to answer these questions by gathering writing and visual art from a variety of perspectives that describe the history, art, and technology of motion pictures.

“The Movies: Texts, Reception, Exposures” offers essays on such classics as “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” and “The Last Emperor,” as well as some behind-the-scenes ventures that includes an interview with Billy Wilder and Arthur Miller’s “Snips about Movies.”

Laurence Goldstein is editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review and a U-M professor of English. His other books include “The American Poet at the Movies: A Critical History.”

Ira Konigsberg is a professor of English and of film and video studies at U-M. His other books include “The Complete Film Dictionary,” now in its second edition.

U-M PressEnglish